235939 Risk Factors of Eighth Grader Participants in the “Choking Game”: Results from an Oregon Population-Based Survey

Monday, October 31, 2011: 8:30 AM

Sarah Ramowski, MSW , Healthcare Informatics, Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield, Portland, OR
Robert Nystrom, MA , Office of Family Health, Oregon Public Health Division, Portland, OR, Afghanistan
Nigel Chaumeton, PhD , Office of Family Health, Oregon Public Health Division, Portland, OR
Kenneth D. Rosenberg, MD, MPH , Office of Family Health, Oregon Public Health Division, Portland, OR
Julie Gilchrist, MD , Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, CDC Injury Center, Atlanta, GA
Introduction: The "choking game" is an activity in which persons strangulate themselves to achieve (non-erotic) euphoria through brief hypoxia. The activity can cause long-term disability and death. To assess the awareness and prevalence of this behavior among 8th graders in Oregon, the Oregon Public Health Division asks about familiarity with and participation in this activity in the Oregon Healthy Teens (YRBS) survey.

Methods: Data were obtained from the 2009 Oregon Healthy Teens survey (OHT), a cross-sectional weighted survey of 5,348 8th graders. The survey also included questions on physical health; mental health; gambling; sexual activity; nutrition; physical activity/body image; exposure to violence; and substance use.

Results: Lifetime prevalence of choking game participation was 6.1% for Oregon 8th graders, with no differences between males and females. Among males, black youth were more likely to participate than white youth. Pacific Islander males and females were much more likely to participate than white youth. Of those 8th graders who ever participated, 64% had participated more than once and 26.6% participated more than five times. Multivariate logistic regression revealed that sexual activity and substance use were significantly associated with choking game participation for both males and females.

Conclusions: Eighth graders with sexual activity and/or substance use should be screened for the choking game. The comprehensive adolescent well visit, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, is a good vehicle for providers to consider a risk assessment and prevention messaging about the potential dangers of this activity.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Clinical medicine applied in public health
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Define the “choking game.” Learn about adolescent surveillance through Oregon Health Teens survey. Examine the risk behaviors associated with participation in the “choking game” by eighth grade youth in Oregon.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Injury

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the maternal and child health epidemiologist for the Oregon Public Health Division and I have participated in the creation of the presentation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.